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'SAARC is very much alive'  

18 January 2017, 11:17:30

Dhaka: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has strongly advocated for the continuation of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) saying that it is very much alive.

“The effectiveness of Saarc is still there and, I think, there's a lot to work on it.

..Saarc is very much alive,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina was speaking in an interactive session titled 'Harnessing Regional Cooperation in South Asia' at the Congress Centre, Aspen 1, here on Tuesday evening on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting 2017.

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Indian Minister for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman and a Pakistani Civil Society member, among others, took part in the interactive session.

Talking about the issue whether Saarc is dead, the Prime Minister said there is no such scope in its charter for resolving bilateral issues through discussions.

Referring to the postponement of the last Saarc Summit in Pakistan, Hasina said, “What did happen that one Saarc Summit was postponed. There's no reason for apprehension…the next Saarc Summit could take place in near future.”

Saarc, founded in Dhaka on December 8, 1985, is a regional intergovernmental organisation and geopolitical union of nations in South Asia. Its member states include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Saarc comprises 3 percent of the world's area, 21 percent of the world's population and 9.12 percent of the global economy, as of 2015.

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